2018 HAINING INTERNATIONAL OPEN UPDATE
The ongoing Haining International Open is an event organised by the Chinese Billiards and Snooker Association which features both professionals and amateurs from the host nation and beyond. In previous years the tournament has been fairly secretive with some players not even knowing about it, although this year's edition has been better advertised. It is earlier in the year than 2017, this time it acts as a sort of 'warm-up' for next week's World Open in Yushan.
Reigning champion Mark Selby, who compiled a 147 maximum break during last year's final, remains on course to defend the title after an eventful start to his campaign. In his opening match he came back from 3-1 down to oust professional rookie Simon Lichtenberg from Germany 4-3, but then enjoyed a comfortable 4-0 success over Paul Davison in the Last 64. Last year Selby lifted the trophy in Haining and then instantly doubled up with victory at the International Championship.
Several other top tier stars took an early flight to compete in this competition too. The opening three days have seen the first two rounds completed. Other current professionals who have made it into the Last 32 are Gary Wilson, Li Yuan, Thepchaiya Un-Nooh, Mark King, Joe Perry, Li Hang, Elliot Slessor, Mei Xiwen, Michael Holt, Mike Dunn, Michael Georgiou, Jimmy Robertson, Andy Lee and Akani Songsermsawad. 2016 champion Matthew Selt is also still in.
There have been some other professional exits so far. Yuan Sijun and Mark Davis were eliminated by Cai Jianzhong (4-2) and Li Jianbing (4-1) respectively in the first round, whilst in the Last 64 Liang Wenbo lost 4-0 to Liu Jiaming, Barry Hawkins was denied 4-2 by former pro Wang Yuchen and Fan Zhengyi was stopped by Yao Pengcheng, 4-1.
In an all-professional Last 64 tie King defeated Lukas Kleckers, 4-2.
The remaining rounds will be played over the next two days. The champion will bank ¥120,000, which is approximately just under £13,500.
Image above is courtesy of World Snooker
Article written and published by Michael Day on the 2nd August 2018